Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To each his -- or her -- own. Whatever floats your boat.

Point is, when it comes to finding a mate, each person values different traits in a potential significant other. Be it beauty, brains or Benjamins, everyone has their own opinion about what makes another person desirable. But how truly different are we when it comes to choosing choice characteristics in another? And do women value the same things in their Mr. Rights as men admire in their Misses?

The facts

These questions have been the focus of many social and psychological studies, especially in recent months, as America prepares itself for the forever-awaited (and often hated) Valentine's Day.

A recent study conducted by WhatsYourPrice.com, the world's largest dating auction website, which allows users to bid on first dates, revealed that women in Washington believe income is the most important quality in a male partner, followed by education and then physical characteristics, such as eye and hair color and body type. Specifically, Washington's perception of the "perfect man" earns $150,000 to $200,000 a year, obtained a graduate degree, and has brown hair with blue eyes and an athletic build, the survey found.

Similar research compiled and reported by Men's Health Magazine revealed that men share some of the same beliefs as women in regards to what makes up the perfect woman. According to research in The Journal of Sex Research, men reported being more satisfied when their partner had an adequate education background. A study published in The American Journal of Sociology also revealed the majority of men seek a woman who can pull her own weight, economically, in the relationship. A 2011 study from the U.K. also determined men prefer brunettes as opposed to blondes and redheads, the magazine said.

But where do we fit into all of this?

With this information in mind, The Frederick News-Post asked Fredericktonians last week what kind of men and women they find most desirable.

Responses provided from a small sample of randomly selected Frederick residents, ages 18 to 55-plus, revealed most females value a sense of humor most, as opposed to income, education, physical attractiveness, sexual compatibility, shared religious or political views, and similar interests. Coming in a close second was shared interests, and education was also highly regarded.

Frederick males also view education as being important but value physical appearance much more than females, most of whom gave little value to the characteristic. Both genders agreed that religious and political views were least important.

Other traits that Frederick residents listed included communication, honesty, loyalty and trust, mutual attraction, responsibility, patience, willingness to compromise, and intelligence.

And while most people likely take many, if not all, of these things into account when choosing a partner, other studies suggest one's taste changes with age.

So choose your Valentine this year with caution. Surveys say what may be attractive today could be just average, abhorrent or downright annoying in the future. ___

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